Category Archives: Business Visits

Members of the NDDC Board and staff make regular visits to Downtown Northfield businesses to recognize special occasions and discuss pertinent community or industry issues.

Jim Bohnhoff’s years of historic signage work in downtown Northfield continues unabated

Jim Bohnhoff’s contribution to downtown Northfield’s visual appeal through his historic signage has spanned decades. Among his recent projects: three signs for the Northfield Public Library. A month ago I took photos of him and Howie Holt installing the sign at the Division St. entrance:

Howie Holt, Jim Bohnhoff
Howie Holt, Jim Bohnhoff

Last week, after a mini-photo shoot of him with Library Director Teresa Jensen, I interviewed him about how he got started with historic signage and how he approaches each project:

Teresa Jensen, Jim Bohnhoff
Teresa Jensen, Jim Bohnhoff

I then took photos of him with 22 of his current signs along Division between 3rd & 4th streets and on Bridge Square. Watch the 14-minute video, see the gallery of 30 photos below, and visit his Jim Bohnhoff Design website.

 

Photo gallery

Smoqehouse Satisfies Eager Customers

This week I went along with a welcoming delegation from the NDDC to pay a visit to Downtown Northfield’s newest dining venue, Smoqehouse. Owners Andy and Heidi Kubes opened Smoqehouse on March 15th at 212 Division St. in the Archer House River Inn and have quickly generated a steady stream of daily patrons. Smoqehouse is a fast casual eatery featuring handcrafted sandwiches with smoked pork, chicken and beef, salads and soups. The café in Northfield is the second location for Smoqehouse. Andy and Heidi located their first restaurant in Faribault, Minnesota in the fall of 2015. Foodie magazine HeavyTable.com called their porchetta sandwich “one of the best sandwiches in the state.” Smoqehouse uses ingredients from local sources like Downtown Northfield’s own Brick Oven Bakery and Northfield Olive Oils and Vinegars.

The restaurant occupies the Archer House space formerly used by Bittersweet Café. However, diners who are familiar with the previous tenant won’t recognize the space. Andy told us that they basically gutted the space and rebuilt it from a bare shell, doing much of the work themselves. They separated the kitchen and order counter from the seating areas and traffic seems to flow much more smoothly with the new floor plan.  Future enhancements include craft beer and possibly wine in the coming months. Smoqehouse offers takeout catering and occasionally operates a food truck during the summer as well.

Smoqehouse is open Monday – Saturday from 11am-7pm. They’re closed on Sunday.

Brick Oven Bakery’s Dean Christensen is happy with their move to Downtown Northfield

It’s been about 18 months since owner Dean Christensen moved the Brick Oven Bakery (BOB) from Professional Drive and expanded it at The Crossing in Downtown Northfield.

Dean Christensen, owner, Brick Oven Bakery (BOB)

I interviewed him last week about his rationale for the move and the results:

00:00-02:15: What about BOB (the acronym for Brick Oven Bakery)?

02:15-05:10: What was the rationale for the move and the results thus far?

05:10- 06:00: Where have your new retail customers primarily come from: Hwy 3, downtown, or the colleges?

06:00-7:30: What’s been the evolution of Friday Pizza Night and live music?

07:30-09:05: What impact on your business do you foresee with Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott Hotel to be constructed this year at The Crossing and Tanzenwald Brewing Company opening soon across Hwy 3?

09:05-10:05: What’s up with your weekend specials?

10:05-11:10: Tell us about The Band of 10,000 Aches

11:10-11:58: Closing comments

Photo album:

NDDC Board Visits the Northfield News

NDDC Board members visited our local newspaper, the Northfield News,  for the 12th monthly session of 2011.  A bit of disclosure, Sam Gett, Publisher of the Northfield News, is a member of the NDDC board.

The owner of the News, Huckle Publishing, Inc. / Mainstream Publications, LLC, employs about 150 people in Minnesota.  There are 15 to 20 people in the Northfield downtown office and 40 to 60 people at the Northfield uptown printing plant; there are a total of 10 to 15 full-time employees in Northfield.

Sam, on a personal level, is very satisfied with Northfield.  The company has papers in Faribault, Owatonna, Waseca, Kenyon, Lonsdale, St. Peter, Le Sueur, and Le Center.  He says Northfield is the regional standard for civic aspiration and that most of the people in other towns are envious of our vitality.  He loves the location and loves being downtown. Continue reading NDDC Board Visits the Northfield News

NDDC Board Visits ECO Gardens

NDDC Board Members visited with Howie and Jeni Holt of eco gardens recently and got the full tour.  It’s really amazing what they’ve done with the old Tires Plus site.

As part of the founding family of Mother Earth Gardens in South Minneapolis, they have over a decade of experience in the business.  They sold the business a few years ago, eventually moving to an old farmstead west of Northfield. After seeing the vitality of our historic commercial district, they decided to get back in the garden store businesses. Continue reading NDDC Board Visits ECO Gardens